Monday, January 10, 2005
- A poignant observation on disaster death tolls, by Bryan over at Trout Fishing in South Central Wisconsin:
A severe earthquake in the United States kills three people, while an earthquake of nearly identical severity in Iran kills 30,000. A hurricane in Florida might kill dozens, while a monsoon in India will kill thousands. Why is it that the poorest nations are always the hardest hit by natural disasters?
From The American Enterprise, March 2004:
According to the Red Cross, in the last ten years "on average 13 times more people die per reported disaster in [poor] countries than in [wealthy] countries." Very simply, wealth makes health. Richer countries have the resources to build stronger buildings, to maintain better emergency communications, to rescue the trapped, and to prevent the injured or sick from becoming the dead. Certainly, poorer countries benefit from the wealth of richer countries (through, for example, drugs developed by pharmaceutical firms), but they require their own prosperity.How "natural" are natural disasters, when so much of their destruction is a direct result of the selfishness and short-sightedness of human beings? A lot of us are wondering how God could allow something like this to happen. But maybe we're blaming the wrong party.
- Buying - not paying - lip service: Women's eNews looks at the strange recent popularization of surgical labiaplasty, and why many women are choosing to get nipped and tucked
in their netherlandswhere the sun don't shine. [Not entirely safe for work, but that depends where you work. Via Back to the Kitchen] Isn't that illegal in Georgia these days?
- No Milk, Please offers a link to what may be the ultimate nerdy bod-mod: Star Wars Tattoos, many apparently covering several square feet of body surface. Lucas should be sending these folks some serious royalties, IMHO.
- Paper of the Day: Francisco Conde, et al., "Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons in Smoke Used to Smoke Cheese Produced by the Combustion of Rock Rose (Cistus monspeliensis) and Tree Heather (Erica arborea) Wood", from the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
- UCLA study suggests curries may help prevent Alzheimer's disease; key ingredient is curcumin, found in turmeric:
Turmeric has already been found to slow prostate cancer and can be bought in capsules. It could eventually be used as a drug or supplement to prevent people developing Alzheimer's in much the same way as statins are used to prevent heart attacks. Doctors agree that amyloid plaques (abnormal build-ups of a protein fragment known as beta amyloids) are responsible for memory loss in Alzheimer's. The latest study, at the University of California, Los Angeles, used mice.[read full article on NEWS.com.au]
The results, published in the Journal Of Biological Chemistry, suggest that curcumin would not only prevent the build-up of plaques in patients with the degenerative brain disease, but would block the plaques developing in the first place. Scientists found that a chemical in the yellow pigment of the spice was responsible for prevention and dispersal of beta amyloid. The team has started human trials that could eventually lead to the development of a drug.
Doctors believe the low levels of Alzheimer's in India and other curry-eating countries could be due to the effects of curcumin. The UCLA study found curcumin crossed the blood-brain barrier to eliminate amyloid plaques. It also reduced the build-up of beta amyloid by up to 21 per cent. In earlier studies, the same research team found curcumin was a powerful antioxidant and has anti-inflammatory properties, which scientists believe help ease the symptoms of Alzheimer's.
- Researchers have trained a group of lab rats to distinguish between spoken Dutch and Japanese [Boing Boing]